We're more likely to jail the mentally ill than get them help [CNA]


Washington D.C., Feb 21, 2017 / 03:11 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- People with severe mental illness are much more likely to be incarcerated than treated for their disorders, advocates said at a recent panel, and changes need to be made in order to break the vicious cycle of prison and homelessness.

“We don’t have a mental health professional in half the counties in America. We need to do something about that,” Doris A. Fuller of the Treatment Advocacy Center said at a panel in Washington, D.C. earlier this month.

Almost 400,000 inmates in the U.S. prison system are estimated to be mentally ill. For many with severe mental problems like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, their untreated illness may have played a primary role in landing them in prison.

“The going in and out of jail is a challenge. And many of the times it is because of the mental illness,” said Karen Ostlie, director of behavioral health services for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.

“So that’s the same as across the country, is you get a lot of people that are incarcerated because of their mental illness,” she told CNA, and it might be for something small like “trespassing if they’re homeless and they’re trying to find a warm place to sleep at night.”

Full article…


So true. But here’s another insight. We have been trying to help a homeless person with mental heal issues for a few years. He has both ADD and bi polar disorders. Many times he went off his medications and when we tried to get mental health for him he refused, saying he knew more than the doctors. We provided him shelter, helped him with expenses and did out utmost to see he was employed. But sadly enough they have their own ideas. It’s in many times not a lack of mental health services but the mentally ill refusing to acknowledge their illnesses and getting the help and counseling they need,

He’s been in and out of jails several times, and was released this last time a day ago. Thus person us a talented artist and handyman and has a good heart. In many ways he’s more Christian than we are, always willing to help someone less fortunate.

Unless we can go back to the old way of having people committed against their will, I don’t see how more facilities will help. They found get dome help in prison, but there has to be sn extensive follow up for this to be any good.


If you are mentally ill you may be incapable of that level of self-awareness.

The American prison complex is frankly disgusting and abusive.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.